‘It was horrible’: Houston funeral home puts wrong body in father’s casket, family says

A Houston family’s final goodbyes to their beloved father were utterly “ruined” when they discovered that another man’s body was inside his casket.

“I went up to the casket to tell him, ‘I love you,’ before anybody came in, and (I) was touching the wrong person, with [my] dad’s clothes,” Maria Vasquez told KPRC, as she broke into tears. “They ruined everything.”

When doctors diagnosed Natividad Torres Cordova with pancreatic cancer in May, he ended up spending his last two weeks with his loved ones at home.

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“To say our last goodbyes to our father, it was supposed to be perfect,” Cordova’s daughter, Susana Montelongo said. “He gave us his all, so we wanted to give him everything, perfect.”

Cordova’s family was intent on making his funeral a touching tribute.  They approached Houston’s Santana Funeral Home to organize their father’s funeral service. However on the very day of the funeral, the family reported that the casket was actually late on arrival.

“It almost felt like a really mean joke,” Natividad Cordova Junior told KPRC. “I don’t even like to talk about it.”

Although we reached out to Santana’s funeral director, Arnold Alanis to discuss the situation, he has not returned our call at this time.  However, Alanis told KPRC, “we have always believed in serving our families.”

“Once and a while, there might be an issue with a family, but we’re not at liberty to discuss that,” Alanis continued. “I feel sorry for them, they’re in grief right now with the loss of a loved one.”

Cordova Junior said that after the mistake, he went with Santana employees to locate his father’s body.  After two hours, Natividad’s body arrived, but it was not prepared for service, the family said.

“Instead of having good memories of a perfect funeral for our father, because he deserved the best, we are having a nightmare,” Montelongo said.

According to Vasquez, Alanis reportedly refunded the family later.  Vasquez said that the director left the family to pick up the pieces after that traumatic incident.

“The director literally rushed out, left us there to handle everything on our own,” Vasquez said.